Renewable Energy Gets Government Backing in China

Renewable Energy Gets Government Backing in China

A new Chinese law is requiring power grid operators to purchase all of the electricity produced through renewable energy generation! This is an exciting development in my book. It is the second major move to hit the world’s stage since Copenhagen fell, and it is worthwhile to take a quick glance at who and where the forward thinking is coming from:

1.    Brazil- They have pledged to keep strict emissions cuts targets, legally binding themselves to cut their emissions by 20% from 2005 by 2020.
2.    Maldives and Costa Rica- I have to include them, even though their pledges are old, but they have both set a goal of being carbon neutral countries.
3.    CHINA- Requiring their power grids to purchase all renewable energy from creators.

The U.S. ? Certainly not making this list. While many other countries are making strides and promises that will move the process forward, the U.S. continues to languish underneath the not-metaphorical weight of our fossil fuel lobbyist groups. What in the name of solar panels are we doing? Hemming and Hawing about all of the difficulties and the coal and oil industries trying to get Congress to care about their future business and masking it by talking about jobs being lost- we all know that the only reason people want to keep coal and oil industries going is because we have the infrastructure and systems worked out that make them work- it’s a big deal to try and switch that. It’s like quitting smoking- the gradual method is tough, sometimes you just have to go cold turkey. Just stop.

I applaud the Chinese government on this front- requiring their power grids to purchase the electricity created is a savvy business move- it means that investors and entrepreneurs will be far more inclined to put money, time and effort toward starting renewable energy ventures, as they are guaranteed to get their money back if they complete the project through selling the electricity.

It is good for the renewable energy market and all the same for the power grid people- the only ones who will be upset about this is the coal people, but their product is expensive and dirty anyway. Who would spend valuable time and money and resources trying to figure out how to do coal in a clean way rather than just do the stuff that is clean to begin with? Oh, wait- us.

And the new law coming through the Chinese government also give the State Council energy department authority (along with other agencies) to "determine the proportion of renewable energy power generation to the overall generating capacity for a certain period."

In essence, the government can and will decide how much clean energy will be made and when. This is the good part of the benevolent dictator government model I’ve always wondered about- as in, wouldn’t it be awesome if there was somebody who was in charge, answered to no one, and they had nothing but the best interests of their people in mind? All the power without all the corruption?

Of course, China has both- but this law shows that power can- and will- be used to make change happen- and this time that change is clean.

Photo Credit: davesag (via Flickr under CCL)